Friday, April 13, 2012

Perspective 101

Perspective is a term used in art.  As defined by Merriam Webster:

1. a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.
2. a picture employing this technique, especially one in which it is prominent: an architect's perspective of a house.
3. a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista: 

Perspective is an important concept in art.  A basic principle to learn that gives depth to a painting.  It helps us dipict three dimensions on a two dimensional surface.  I hear the word often used in what I do, but I want to talk about another kind of perspective.  You know, seeing the forest through the trees?

I begin a landscape deciding what to put in the foreground, middleground and background.  This is simple, perspective 101.  But in our lives, I think we tend live and focus on the foreground.  At least I know I do.  While it is true we only have today, "getting perspective" helps us to see the bigger picture.  And it's important to remember there is a bigger picture.  The tendency is to stay in the foreground of the everyday of the "to do" list or what's currently on our plate.  But "getting perspective" reminds us that there are other ways as well as other things to see. 

Students often spend a great deal of time on an area of the painting that is not really all that important to the overall painting.  That blade of grass they paint so carefully is not what they want the viewer to notice.  Yet they spend so much time on it, and give it so much importance.  Why?  We get caught in the foreground, because it is the easiest to see.  It is right in front of us, the here and now, so to speak.  

While the foreground is a part of the whole, let's not get stuck there. Lately, I've been getting the message that I'm not living very large.  Don't get me wrong, I have a great life.  Right here and now.  But things keep knocking me down, giving me a totally different perspective!  (sometimes I need a knock upside the head to see things straight!) I have several friends in crisis right now.  Which put's any problem I may think I have at a pretty low category.  And that's a good thing. My grandmother always used to say "there is always someone better off and someone worse off".  She was a smart woman. Her point is well taken. All I need to do is move to change my perspective.  But then the challenge is to choose what to focus on.  I have more options now.  I see more clearly, but I also risk confusion!  I need a "focal point".  (But that's another blog!)

So, I've changed my perspective recently.  Adjusting my perspective has given me a better view and expanded my vision.  I have some things a bit further down the road that are coming into focus.  Largely because I expanded my vision and took a cue from the messages being sent.  Live large, they chant.  Be bold is the chorus.  What are you risking by staying at a distance?  they ask.   I think you risk a limited vision!  I say, if your not liking the view, change your perspective!  

Have a great week!  


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